It has been almost two months since I’ve posted. A little over half of that I’ve been in my new house–at my “urban” farm–in the tiny town of Clinton, Minnesota.
We closed on a Friday afternoon in late October, and I moved in about a week later–once I had a bed and a table, one chair, some laundry baskets and clothes–very sparse and kind of Zen.
That was the weekend before Halloween, and on Halloween my friend Johanna showed up with her camp chair, so we both had someplace to sit while we watched for trick-or-treaters.
Earlier that afternoon, I spent about half an hour on the front deck pounding nails flush to avoid snagging some child’s costume and sending him or her sprawling down the stairs. You know, responsible neighbor kind of stuff. Keep the kids safe. Then be the stranger who gives them candy.
The house needs a lot of love, but its bones are strong, and I think it’s beautiful–even if I occasionally swear about the ugly-as-sin shingled siding or the tiny cave-like bathroom. There is time to work on all that. Years.
So, I moved in with a bed, a table that was given to me, and a chair that was here already, and then there was a bed for M that was coming before he was, and I kind of thought that I’d slowly and thoughtfully pick out a piece of furniture here and there over the course of a rather long period of time. A chest of drawers, so we wouldn’t have to live out of laundry baskets and suitcases. Another chair. Maybe we’d get a couch in the spring.
And then a couple of friends called. And they started bringing stuff.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned about rural people, it’s that they won’t abide their friend living in a big ol’ empty house. Nope, they want to fill it up–hey, we have a nice couch you can have…would you have any use for a file cabinet?…let us bring you a couple chairs…and a coffee maker…a crock pot…cleaning supplies…some pillows…a new comforter…extra sheets to fit those beds…hey, my friends are moving and getting rid of all this great stuff…have you ever wanted cross country skis?
So, my Zen idea kind of went out the window, and I find myself living in a very comfortably furnished place. Mind you, it’s not all matchy-matchy (not that I ever lived like that before)–instead, it hearkens back to my grad school days living in a houseful of musicians and mismatched couches. Only without the musicians. And I guess they didn’t bring me four pianos, either. Which is good.
It has been a month of getting my bearings–of being thankful for friends and family and good food and for no longer commuting 90 minutes a day–as much as I am grateful to my totally awesome host family for putting me up–and for putting up with me–for two and a half months.
I have a pile a mile high of thank you notes to write, and now that I am getting the boxes and tubs of stuff cleaned and sorted and filed and finding some open space on the table and some breathing space in the schedule, it’s all getting to feel a little easier, a little simpler, a little more do-able.
A little more like “normal life.”
Whatever that means.